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4 Vintage American Bikes

Posted on 13 March 2017

The custom scene is all the rage now but classic bike owners will smile knowingly and perhaps with some relief, knowing the hipsters will shy away from classics and keep the following pure.

European makes tend to come to mind first when comparing the greats, but there are more than enough American motorcycles sitting in the classic hall of fame. Here are four bikes the Yanks made to last a lifetime.

1. Indian Scout

Throughout the first half of the 20th century, Harley-Davidson were neck-to-neck with Indian Motorcycle Company in popularity, until Indian's bankruptcy demise in 1953.
Before the ship had gone down, though, Indian had a 29-year production called the Scout. While achieving modest success especially in Daytona, the Scout's enduring image perhaps owes its popular to military use in the Second World War.


2. Ace

Almost a hundred years ago in 1920, the Ace Motor Corporation started producing its flagship “Ace”, famed for its trademark longitudinal four cylinder with a chain drive. The original production would only last four years, so these are some of the rarest bikes you can find.


3. Crocker

When Crocker shifted from making single cylinders to the larger V-twin powered 55hp - 50hp road bikes in 1936, they outpowered rival makes from Harley and Indian which could only go 38 to 40hp.

Built to order, the largest Crocker stood at 1,491 cc, setting a long-standing record for largest engine production bike – broken more than 50 years later by Yamaha's XV1600A in 1998.

Only about 100 of the V-twins were built and fewer than 70 are known to still exist.


4. Harley-Davidson WLA

A militarised make of the WL, this model's colour scheme underwent camouflaging, using olive drab or black colours and Parkerised chrome. It had modifications for weatherproofing elements and modifications for guns and radio. 

90,000 of these bikes were produced, with a third shipped to Russia, but were never used in the frontlines the way the Germans used bikes and sidecars.

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